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    1. #1

      Hardwired FM Modulator- Not

      Well today I planned to hardwire a FM Modulator into the HU-803 so I could have an Auxiliary Audio Input. Task one, was to get to the antenna connector on back of the HU-803 to insert the Adapter cables for the FM Modulator.

      To get to the back of the radio you first have to remove the pen holder by carefully prying up the edges. I used a plastic knife so I would not scratch any thing.

      You then remove the gear selector panel and remove the two screws behind the pencil holder at the base of the environmental control panel.

      Now comes the tricky part. To remove the environmental control panel, you have to lift out from the bottom while you are pulling down and out from the top with a rocking motion simultaneously! It took me an hour to figure that out. Move the unit off to the driver side.

      You then remove the two screws at the base of the radio

      You then lift out on the bottom of the radio to clear the lip on top of the radio. Slide the radio and car phone out once you clear the lip.

      Now for the bad news. You will notice the antenna input on back of the HU-803 has two antenna inputs. One for the left rear antenna and one for the rear bumper antenna. The adapter cables fit fine but only utilize one of the antenna inputs. If I used these adapters I would lose the diverse antenna signal capability. So I put everything back together and will have to look elsewhere to connect the FM modulator. I would bet if anyone had a FM modulator hardwired by a car stereo shop they are operating their radio with one of the antenna disconnected.

      Doug H


    2. #2
      what is this thing you were trying to install anyway..what does an FM modulator do?

    3. #3
      Senior Member JRL's Avatar
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      Re: (23109VC)

      Quote, originally posted by 23109VC »
      what is this thing you were trying to install anyway..what does an FM modulator do?

      It's for installing a satellite radio for one.
      JRL

      Email: jrl1194(at)aol.com
      If the subject is car purchase related please use jrl1194(at)gmail.com
      2006 XC70 White/Black 60K miles, new daily driver
      2000 V70R wife's. Won't sell, now 122K miles and still perfect
      1994 Lincoln Continental. In concours condition with low miles.

    4. #4

      Re: (23109VC)

      Quote, originally posted by 23109VC »
      what is this thing you were trying to install anyway..what does an FM modulator do?

      A FM Modulator enables you to broadcast your MP3 player, Satellite receiver, tape player, etc. to a specific FM station on your car radio. The Quality will be about the same as a high power FM radio station in your area. Normally you wound use an Auxiliary input, but Volvo in their wisdom they decided we did not need one.

      The modulator connects to the antenna input of your head unit. Your antenna then plugs into the fm modulator. It has several settings to choose a non- interference radio station for the modulator to broadcast

      Doug H


    5. #5

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)


      Nice work on the how-to-(try) Doug.... I am quoting the following as it is significant and no one should overlook it.

      Quote, originally posted by defgh1 »
      I would bet if anyone had a FM modulator hardwired by a car stereo shop they are operating their radio with one of the antenna disconnected.

    6. #6

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (JimLill)

      I operated my Sirius receiver over FM Modulation for about five months without a lot of degredation in the signal by having only one of the diversity antennas plugged in. Granted, I rarely listened to normal radio but when I did, the reception and RDS information came through just fine. Though not optimal, the difference was negligable.

    7. #7

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (RobS60R)

      Quote, originally posted by RobS60R »
      I operated my Sirius receiver over FM Modulation for about five months without a lot of degredation in the signal by having only one of the diversity antennas plugged in. Granted, I rarely listened to normal radio but when I did, the reception and RDS information came through just fine. Though not optimal, the difference was negligable.

      I am sure the impact of loosing one antenna input will vary by location and strength of local radio stations. Since Volvo does not make a habit of adding extraneous components, they would not have incorporated a diverse antenna capability without a good reason.

      Doug H


    8. #8

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)

      how would the fm modulator work if you had only one antenna input? who makes, and what are the model numbers of, the two pieces you have a picture of?

      john


    9. #9

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (s60r05)

      something about diversity....

      http://www.termpro.com/articles/antenna.html


    10. #10

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (JimLill)

      Quote, originally posted by JimLill »

      Nice work on the how-to-(try) Doug.... I am quoting the following as it is significant and no one should overlook it.

      Trust me, I installed hardwired modulators in both my S60AWD and now my V70R and there has been ZERO change in FM reception clearity or range...

      You may well be right about losing diversity, but, in my experience, there is no significant functional effect..


    11. #11

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)

      i don't think you need to worry about "losing" the signal from either antenna, as the fm modulator works this way: when the radio is tuned to a pre-selected frequency, the modulator blocks the incoming signal from the antenna and inserts its own. Thus, when you're listening to any frequency but the frequency set on the modulator itself, the radio is still able to select the antenna with the strong signal. when you tune the radio to, say, 88.9, the radio selects the 'antenna' with what it believes is the strong signal, but it actually gets whatever is wired to the fm modulator. you would only have a problem if there was an fm station on 88.9 with a stronger signal than the one being supplied by the modulator.

      so go ahead, put it in and try it out. i bet you could test the signal strength by removing the other antenna from the radio to see if station reception is affected by the modulator. there might be a 3 or 6 db dip in power due to the connections, but the actual radio reception would likely be relatively unaffected by that.


    12. #12

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (s60r05)

      Quote, originally posted by s60r05 »
      how would the fm modulator work if you had only one antenna input? who makes, and what are the model numbers of, the two pieces you have a picture of?

      john

      I got the adapters from http://www.Circuitcity.com:

      1 MET 40VL10 Metra Volvo Antenna Adapter-Aftermarket Radio to Factory Antenna
      1 MET 40VL20 Metra Volvo Antenna Adapter-Factory Radio to Aftermarket Antenna

      There are numerous FM Modulators. The one I purchased was from http://www.partsexpress.com:

      205-687 FM MODULATOR / TRANSMITTER 7 CHAN $37.25

      Doug H


    13. #13

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)

      My first post!
      anyway, i just did this install
      if you look at the factory connector, you'll see a darker grey clip. same on the adapters. if you remove it, you can pull the antenna lead that gets disconnected by the adapters, and plug it into the adapter connector that gets plugged into the HU.

      I have both antenna leads hooked in, with one of them being interrupted by the fm modulator... works great... although, in theory, that second antenna could allow a signal over the same channel to overpower the modulator's signal. not likely, since the signal power of the modulator should be enough to completely overpower the incoming on the other lead. the diversity system SHOULD pick the stronger of the two signals and lock on, stronger being the modulator.

      now if i could only get rid of the ground loop noise i'm hearing...


    14. #14

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (SilverS60RNYC)

      Welcome to the forum and thanks for the tip. Is there a special way to release the extra antenna lead from the connector?

      Doug H


    15. #15

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)

      if you have a small flat blade screwdriver, its pretty easy. the darker grey retention piece is held in by a clip molded into the connector. if you gently pry up the part that latches the retention piece, it slides right out. a light tug will get the antenna cable loose. remove the retention clip on the adapter that plugs into the HU and socket the cable in. just replace the retention piece, done!.

    16. #16

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (SilverS60RNYC)

      I'll give it a try next weekend.

      Doug H


    17. #17
      i have one of those adaptors and use it to go to my aftermarket head unit.

      the recption is much worse with the new head unit, but i rarely listen to radio. watching the news on TV, DVD's, or sirius is much better than boring radio!


    18. #18

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)

      UPDATE!

      Based on a suggestion, I ventured back into my Dash to retry the FM Modulator hook up. You can release the Antenna cable from the connector by using a small screwdriver and releasing the dark-grey locking tab on back of the connector. You then have to lift a small plastic catch to allow you to completely remove the cable from the connector

      I removed the second diverse antenna cable from the original Volvo connector on back of the HU-803 and inserted it into the adapter cable for the FM modulator and plugged it into the radio. I now have both diverse antenna leads still going into the back of the radio.

      To route the wiring for the FM Modulator I removed the lower side panel on the passenger side. To remove rotate the rear screw head, by the seat, a 1/4 turn, pull the back of the panel slightly out and slide the whole panel back to remove.

      This is a photo of the FM Modulator

      The FM Modulator antenna leads connect into the adapter antenna cables and for the 12v source I used the wire for the cigaret/12v connector. The ground was connecter to the console bracket.

      I routed the signal input cable through the consol and out the consol storage compartment. I then just tucked the FM Modulator and wiring behind the front carpet and reinstalled the plastic side panel.

      The FM Modulator and HU-803 were tuned to a clear FM station and I tried various inputs: MP3 player, Portable CD player, and Portable Tape player. Everything played fine, but I was NOT impressed with the sound quality. It was not as good as a regular FM station. I would give it a 6/10 rating. Maybe the $40 FM modulator I purchased sucks, but at this point it was not worth all the effort. However, I learned a lot and now can get the radio out in about 10 minutes and know you CAN retain the diverse antenna even with the Adapter Cables. I hope you also got some good info out of it.

      Doug H



    19. #19

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)

      one thing that i found is that grounding the modulator to the cig lighter ground causes a low level alternator hum to be present (ground loop)
      I'm going to try grounding it to the radio chassis.

      glad to see you were able to get the antenna hook up working!

      Edit: oops, you did ground it to the chassis.
      what frequency are you using?
      at 88.1, my JVC modulator completely knocks out 88.1 broadcast here in NY.
      supposedly, the lower the frequency, the better the sound quality (no idea if this is true though.)


    20. #20

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (SilverS60RNYC)

      Quote, originally posted by SilverS60RNYC »

      what frequency are you using?
      at 88.1, my JVC modulator completely knocks out 88.1 broadcast here in NY.
      supposedly, the lower the frequency, the better the sound quality (no idea if this is true though.)

      88.3 works good in my area, but I was still not happy with the quality. The unit does not have the dynamic range needed to play all music types without some distortion being introduced at extreme high and lows.

      Doug H


      Modified by defgh1 at 8:55 AM 5-30-2004


    21. #21

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)

      Dynamic range is best in the middle of the FM band, hence the desire of most stations to be in 94-101 range. Theoretically, the best sound should come from 97.9.
      Rick
      2004 S60R GT - Flash Green, 18" Pegs, Climate, Premium, Touring, Navigation

    22. #22

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)

      Quote, originally posted by defgh1 »
      The FM Modulator and HU-803 were tuned to a clear FM station and I tried various inputs: MP3 player, Portable CD player, and Portable Tape player. Everything played fine, but I was NOT impressed with the sound quality. It was not as good as a regular FM station. I would give it a 6/10 rating. Maybe the $40 FM modulator I purchased sucks, but at this point it was not worth all the effort. However, I learned a lot and now can get the radio out in about 10 minutes and know you CAN retain the diverse antenna even with the Adapter Cables. I hope you also got some good info out of it.

      I might try this model of FM Modulator. Thanks for the detailed install documentation.

      http://shop.store.yahoo.com/sa....html
      (there are many places to buy it for $35)

      Doug, how do you select from the 7 available frequencies on your FM Modulator?

      Rick
      2004 S60R GT - Flash Green, 18" Pegs, Climate, Premium, Touring, Navigation

    23. #23

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (rqc)

      Quote, originally posted by rqc »

      Doug, how do you select from the 7 available frequencies on your FM Modulator?

      There are a set of 4 Dip Switches on the side of the unit which allow you to pick one of 7 frequencies from 87.7Mhz to 88.9Mhz.

      Doug H


    24. #24

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (rqc)

      Quote, originally posted by rqc »
      Dynamic range is best in the middle of the FM band, hence the desire of most stations to be in 94-101 range. Theoretically, the best sound should come from 97.9.

      Explain why the Dynamic Range is better in band center... are you speaking RF or AF?


    25. #25

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (JimLill)

      I'll try to find the technical discussion I read about this issue.
      Rick
      2004 S60R GT - Flash Green, 18" Pegs, Climate, Premium, Touring, Navigation

    26. #26

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)

      And how does it know how to kick in and take over? Does it look for a signal or is there an on/off switch? If it uses auto on/off, how does it do with quiet songs?
      Rick
      2004 S60R GT - Flash Green, 18" Pegs, Climate, Premium, Touring, Navigation

    27. #27

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (rqc)

      Quote, originally posted by rqc »
      And how does it know how to kick in and take over? Does it look for a signal or is there an on/off switch? If it uses auto on/off, how does it do with quiet songs?

      Rick,

      It is no different then any FM radio station. Unless you have your radio tuned to the defined FM Modulator frequency you do not hear any thing. The FM modulator is active whenever the ignition key is on but requires a signal input before it converts the signal input to the FM frequency. It requires an input level sufficient to activate the modulator but not too strong to saturate the modulator and cause distortion. The input level to the modulator is easily controlled with the Volume control of the device you want to listen too.

      Doug H


    28. #28

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (defgh1)

      Mine only turns on when it detects sound on the input, and cuts out all reception from the antenna. it shuts off after 15 seconds of complete silence. white noise from a "silent" section keep it running.


    29. #29

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (SilverS60RNYC)

      What brand is your modulator and are you happy with the sound quality?

    30. #30
      Senior Member JRL's Avatar
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      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (ptroost)

      If you want Satellite radio I just installed the Delphi Roady2 XM with its WIRELESS FM modulator.
      Works perfectly and no need to try and wire a separate modulator. The hardest past of the install is running the aerial to the rear roof.
      Easy, simple install, clean and, so far, flawless operation
      JRL
      Email: jrl1194(at)aol.com
      If the subject is car purchase related please use jrl1194(at)gmail.com
      2006 XC70 White/Black 60K miles, new daily driver
      2000 V70R wife's. Won't sell, now 122K miles and still perfect
      1994 Lincoln Continental. In concours condition with low miles.

    31. #31

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (JRL)

      Quote, originally posted by JRL »
      If you want Satellite radio I just installed the Delphi Roady2 XM with its WIRELESS FM modulator.
      Works perfectly and no need to try and wire a separate modulator. The hardest past of the install is running the aerial to the rear roof.
      Easy, simple install, clean and, so far, flawless operation
      JRL

      how did you route the antenna cable from inside the cabin to the rear roof?
      i'm doing a sirius install in the next week, hooking it up to my kenwood head unit


    32. #32

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Bad Sound!

      Thank you very much for the great guide. I attempted this install with a JVC KS-IF200 Wired FM Modulator I bought from Crutchfield. The sound was extremely disappointing, I would give it a 2 out of 10, and the 2 is only because it came in at all. The music was drowning in static and distortion. I tried all 8 frequencies twice, and all three output levels to no avail, it really wasn't usable. Then, I reasoned that if I unplugged the factory antenna input that went into the modulator, it wouldn't have to compete with anything on that antenna lead and the stereo could switch to the other antenna for other FM stations -- no improvement.

      Ironically, the $30 "iRock" Wireless FM Modulator I bought on eBay sounded 3X as good -- why on earth would that be?

      Sadly, I disconnected the modulator -- the only good part is that it came with a harness plug so I could just coil up and stash the wires. I also left the antenna adapter kit installed and just plugged the adapter plug side into the adapter socket side bypassing the modulator.

      If anyone can recommend a wired modulator that really does work I would really appreciate it. I would think with hard wired power they could really broadcast an extremely strong FM signal but I guess not.

      Anyone know why a wireless modulator would work better than wired? Doesn't make sense to me. In any case, if you're contemplating this mod, I would skip it in favor of a good wireless transmitter.


    33. #33

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Bad Sound! (ptroost)

      I continue to use an iTrip with pretty good success, even in the extraordinarily crowded Orlando radio market. I recently tried a NewerTech RoadTrip and although it plugged into the 12V outlet, it suffered badly from static and electronics hum. I was so surprised at the poorer performance since it had 12V to put out a signal and the iTrip has to use power from the iPod.

      I really want to try a wired FM Modulator, but I now believe it is possible that a wired, powered modulator can produce a lower quality signal in spite of the obvious potential electronic advantages. Also, since the iTrip works so well in most respects, it creates a disincentive to try a different method.

      Rick
      2004 S60R GT - Flash Green, 18" Pegs, Climate, Premium, Touring, Navigation

    34. #34

      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Bad Sound! (rqc)

      iTrip is out for me as I have an Archos MP3 Jukebox rather than an iPod and the iTrip has a proprietary interface.

      I did quite a bit of investigation today and found that the consensus on wired FM modulators is that the Audiovox FMM100 is the best available.

      Prices range between $40 and $60 plus shipping, although Circuit City seems to offer it within the store. I ordered one today and will let you know what I find out when it arrives.


    35. #35
      Senior Member JRL's Avatar
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      Re: Hardwired FM Modulator- Not (SilverS60RNYC)

      Quote, originally posted by SilverS60RNYC »

      how did you route the antenna cable from inside the cabin to the rear roof?
      i'm doing a sirius install in the next week, hooking it up to my kenwood head unit


      Dunno.
      Ask my stereo guys. The do it all the time and it only took them an hour or so
      Bottom line is ANY good stereo shop should be able to handle this job with ease and low $$
      JRL
      Email: jrl1194(at)aol.com
      If the subject is car purchase related please use jrl1194(at)gmail.com
      2006 XC70 White/Black 60K miles, new daily driver
      2000 V70R wife's. Won't sell, now 122K miles and still perfect
      1994 Lincoln Continental. In concours condition with low miles.

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